By Edgar Jones
This is often the tale of an incredible organisation. It describes the transformation of a small partnership, shaped in 1759, into a global staff, the dimensions of whose varied actions has demanded the production of a multi-divisional constitution, supported through many expert departments. the most longeval of Britain's present production businesses, GKN's historical past can be interpreted as a distinct and revealing perception into Britain's commercial event over earlier centuries.
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Extra resources for A History of GKN: Volume 1 Innovation and Enterprise, 1759–1918
For much of this period, these businesses were partnerships relying on internally generated funds and were precluded from appealing to the stock market for investment capital. The Guests, Keens and Nettlefolds survived simply because they consistently earned profits. The crucial question, therefore, is how? Through an examination of the principal areas of business activity outlined above, this study seeks to provide an answer. At this moment the discipline of business history has largely resolved itself into the study of individual companies, or biographies of their chief executives, rather than industries or specific themes which influenced business, such as governmental controls, accounting developments, the rise of the professional manager or the importance of organisational structures.
108 However, in 1786 the ambitious and self-made Richard Crawshay succeeded in buying his way into the Cyfarthfa partnership, also obtained a lease on its for~e, and in 1787 completed his coup by purchasing its blast furnace. 09 Cyfarthfa, unlike the other three ironworks, was situated in the western half of Merthyr, on the northern bank of the Taf£. Dowlais then had the distinction of being the oldest of the quartet, the pioneer on whose success the others had taken the courage to begin. WAR AND TECHNICAL INNOVATION How, then, did these various ironworks fare during the period from 1759 to 1793?
Lloyd & Hamson John Cornforth's Wire & Nail Works ~---------r--------L-~ I Birmingham Screw Co. Ltd. S. Nettlefold (c. , ::i. INTRODUCTION xxxvii subsequently took over. There was a considerable measure of geographical contiguity about the three companies which merged to form GKN: both the Dowlais Iron Co. and the PNB owned collieries and ironworks in South Wales, whilst Nettlefolds had its steelworks at Rogerstone and a mill in Newport. The woodscrew and nut and bolt factories of the PNB were close neighbours in the Midlands.